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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From Being Radha to Anuradha and RADHA Once More

On May 18 1998, I was blessed with a baby girl. I wanted to name her Radha. My father was very pleased, because his name is Radhakrishna. Both would share the name. I wanted to call her Radha, because i liked the name Radha. Just that one reason. The other 2 names I had shortlisted were Anuradha and Arundhati.

The husband was opposed to naming the child, Radha. After much prodding, he said that his secretary was also called Radha, and he did not fancy calling out to Radha at home too.

My favourite among the Gods are Ganesha and Krishna. But as opposed to the devotees in North India, who see Radha and Krishna together, in the south, it is nearly always Krishna by himself, who is loved and worshipped. I still wanted to name the baby, Radha.

Finally the husband had his way and the child was named Anuradha.

Last year we went to Mathura and Brindavan, where everybody sings the Radha 'dhun'. Even the rickshaw drivers, used to yell out 'RADHEY-RADHEY' so that the pedestrians would make way for them. Everybody greeted each other saying RADHEY RADHEY. There were shawls with RADHEY RADHEY, written on it. And my son who is older to her by 5 years started teasing her, 'Eh Radhey!, Radhey Radhey'. She would be quite angry with him, cry and then rush to beat him. He would run around the house, yelling Radhey Radhey.

And so it continued for a year.

Tomorrow, our building is hosting a BHAGWAD PATH. It will be on for a week, and a Swamiji of great repute, is going to unravel the glory of the holy text for us. It is my first exposure to the Srimad Bhagwad Puran. Today evening as I was getting things ready for the Kalash ceremony tomorrow, where 108 married ladies have to get a kalash from the temple, a neighbour called on us. She wanted Anuradha to play RADHA. There is a chariot readied for the occasion and Krishna and Radha will be 'viraajmaan' on it. And they will lead the procession to the temple, to get the 108 kalash and also the holy text. They will be dressed up by the priests who have accompanied the Swamiji. They are all from Brindavan I presume.

You can well imagine the scenario at home, I jumped in joy. The son chuckled and leapt up, ready to start the chanting game. I had to give him one of my dirtiest looks to silence him. The daughter - well she sulked and sulked some more. The husband comforted her, saying that he would be by the side of her chariot all throughout. She calmed down a bit when she saw me pulling out some pretty 'tikli' sarees for her. They are all laid out now for the panditji's approval.

My daughter, who loves living in shorts, capris and jeans will be decked up in all the finery of Krishna's consort.

Tomorrow!!...........well!!..... RADHEY! RADHEY!!


  1. I'd like to hear your daughter's comments on this post and on her own name. At least, there is no chance of her name being misunderstood, in India at least. My unfortunate name has undergone severe transformations, from Suchitra to Suchita to Rita.

  2. Enjoyed reading this post. looking forward to more from you and more frequently too.

  3. hi again

    the function went off well the next day. the makeup was all very intricate. her forehead and face was marked with white and red dots. they had decked her in finery. a first look at her was most cerainly unpleasant. but once the entire dressing up was done she was looking good. she and her friend who was dressed as krishna were chatting away on the rath. and were confused when several people touched their feet saying, in mein toh bhagwanji prakat hue hain.

    now that she has played Radha, she really doesn.t mind being called Radha. and funnily enough nobody teases her anymore